Use your calendar
If you're shopping for a home, car, or student loan, it pays to do your rate shopping within a short time span.
Every time you apply for credit, it can cause a small dip in your score that lasts a year. That's because if someone is making multiple applications for credit, it usually means he or she wants to use more credit.
However, with three kinds of loans -- mortgage, auto and more recently, student loans -- scoring formulas allow for the fact that you'll make multiple applications but only take out one loan.